Massively OP’s 2019 Awards: Most Improved MMORPG


Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2019 awards continue today with our award for Most Improved MMORPG, which was awarded to RuneScape last year. All live MMOs, regardless of release date, were eligible for this award, provided they made improvements this year. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

And the MassivelyOP staff pick for the Most Improved MMORPG of 2019 is…


Andy McAdams: Nothing. We gave the award to BDO, but I said no one. In my estimation, games either held their ground or faceplanted into the dirt so many times it was ridiculous. I don’t think any game earned the Most Improved title this year.

Brianna Royce: If I’m perfectly honest, I thought Black Desert deserved game of the year this year, though I fear I was unable to convince many of my colleagues to side with me. So failing that, I’m glad to see Black Desert getting more attention here, and truthfully, there was no MMORPG more improved this year, as Pearl Abyss pushed the game to three brand-new platforms in the span of a dozen months. I likewise thought that Elder Scrolls Online deserved a nod for its efforts on shoring up its technical backend, and No Man’s Sky deserved attention for continuing to pump out free content in its journey toward becoming a real MMO. But they’ll get theirs.

Carlo Lacsina: BDO. It’s been a strong two years for Black Desert Online. Even though the remaster and the marketboard updates last year, it was the harbinger of things to come. Adding new classes, more grind spots, the improvement to boats, cleaning up various bugs, and now the incoming addition of successions, this game has come a long way from even early 2018. If you haven’t given it a try yet, it’s a great time to dive in. It’s one of the best MMOs that offers a old-school-yet-refined approach to grinding!

Chris Neal: SWTOR. When the stewards of your game IP give you an official nod some several months after you were stricken from the original canon, you must be doing something right. I still take umbrage with the way SWTOR does its monetization, but by and large it feels like things just generally got better. Not great, but improved. Which is what this award’s about, isn’t it?

Colin Henry: Black Desert.

Eliot Lefebvre: ESO, BDO. The Elder Scrolls Online didn’t produce anything as good as Shadowbringers this year (but what could) but it kept churning out a very nice and steady series of content additions and updates that ultimately winds up being really impressive. ESO has generally done a good job with that; it produces a good stream of solid content for a few years running now.

Justin Olivetti: I threw in for Guild Wars 2 on this one because it started the year in a really rough spot but steadily clawed its way back to story updates and feature patches by 2019’s end. Fallout 76 probably deserves a nod here as well if we are strictly looking at content offerings.

Mia DeSanzo: No Man’s Sky was my pick, even though it isn’t really an MMO. I have been playing since day 1, and I have loved it from the start, since I went in knowing nothing of what had been promised, but it is a completely different game today, and all those changes and improvements have been free. Hello Games has pulled off the rare and difficult phoenix maneuver. I do play a crazy amount of BDO, though, so this doesn’t hurt my feelings one bit.

MJ Guthrie: I always feel like this award insinuates that a most improved game goes from not good to good when that really isn’t the case. Improved just means “got better!” and also “got even better!” Last year my vote was to a game that expanded on a another platform and pulled in/back a number of players by doing so. Using that metric, Black Desert Online gets it for expanding onto three new platforms! There have been a number of other changes and added classes too.

Samon Kashani: ArcheAge Unchained. OK, I can totally understand that AAU shouldn’t be the game of the year. But it seems like a shoo-in for most improved. Year after year I’d read about the huge kerfluffle and shenanigans going on with AA. Then, AAU launches and for me it’s been smooth. I’ve had fun (although there are some ganking problems). Overall it went from a dud to a stud!

Tyler Edwards: I fought tooth and nail to give this award to Anthem, but was ultimately voted down. BioWare has a done a tremendous job of responding to feedback and addressing Anthem’s issues since launch. Sure, it still has some problems, but I doubt any other game has improved so much this year.

Black Desert won our award for Most Improved MMORPG of 2019. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: What was the most improved MMO of 2019?

  • Black Desert (10%, 78 Votes)
  • ArcheAge Unchained (7%, 52 Votes)
  • No Man's Sky (11%, 88 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (5%, 41 Votes)
  • SWTOR (7%, 52 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft and WoW Classic (4%, 34 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online (8%, 67 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (11%, 89 Votes)
  • RuneScape (1%, 6 Votes)
  • EVE Online (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Lord of the Rings Online (3%, 25 Votes)
  • DC Universe Online (0%, 0 Votes)
  • TERA (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Blade and Soul (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous (1%, 4 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Fallout 76 (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Warframe (3%, 26 Votes)
  • Path of Exile (3%, 21 Votes)
  • Anthem (2%, 13 Votes)
  • Destiny 2 (5%, 41 Votes)
  • Division 2 (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Nothing (11%, 86 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (2%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 692

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How does MassivelyOP choose the winner?
Our team gathers together over the course of a few weeks to nominate and discuss candidates and ideally settle on a consensus winner. We don’t have a hard vote, but we do include written commentary from every writer who submitted it on time so that you can see where some of us differed, what our secondary picks were, and why we personally nominated what we did (or didn’t). The site’s award goes to the staff selection, but we’ll include both it and the community’s top nomination in our debrief in January.
How does MassivelyOP populate this poll?
Poll options include all games nominated plus other released, live MMOs we thought had a chance!
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